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Last updateTue, 18 Dec 2018 12am

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    Sunday, December 16, 2018-11:38:02P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Casino temporarily closes until resumption of flights

IMPERIAL Pacific International will temporarily shut down its casino operations starting Friday, Nov. 16, “until further notice.”

In a statement on Thursday, Imperial Pacific said it is hoping that the tourism industry “rebounds immediately…so the company can resume normal casino operations.”

 Asked for comment, Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres said: “This just shows how fragile our economy and the tourism industry is —  one event like Super Typhoon Yutu can affect our future.”

He noted that Coral Ocean Point and the Pacific Islands Club closed down for renovations after the typhoon, and Aquarius is also undergoing some repairs.

“We can’t blame any company for making such adjustments, but we are doing everything we can to open up our airport and other facilities for our tourists to enjoy. I am hopeful that we will rebound faster and stronger than yesterday.”

In a statement, IPI said:

“Super Typhoon Yutu left a trail of destruction on Saipan and Tinian. The natural disaster has been heart-wrenching because the storm left our beautiful islands looking like a war zone. The island-wide destruction affected personal property, our infrastructure and the business community. Like so many others, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC was included in this trail of destruction.

“Unfortunately, the Saipan International Airport was not spared, suffering millions of dollars in damage and forcing authorities to close the airport except for emergency purposes. The airport’s closure has put a complete halt to the tourism industry because commercial flights have been suspended until the airport is safe for commercial flights to resume again.

“Imperial Pacific also suffered millions of dollars in unexpected damage, forcing the company to make adjustments to ensure typhoon cleanup and repairs are done safely so employees and development continues to be protected.

“Initially, once all the tourists left our islands, Imperial Pacific decided to have limited casino operation hours for two weeks, from Nov. 2 to 15, 2018. Essential employees were identified to work limited operation hour shifts; and non-essential employees were allowed to either take Paid Time Off or voluntarily participate in the company initiated Community Service Program with stipend allocation, to help in the community’s recovery efforts. Over the past few weeks, Imperial Pacific has undertaken an assessment on steps the company must take to survive the unforeseeable business effects of this natural disaster.

“Imperial Pacific has recently learned that although the Saipan International Airport is scheduled to resume normal operations soon, our previous experience with Typhoon Soudelor was that it took several weeks for the tourist population to normalize because tour packages were canceled and it will take time to entice visitors to visit our typhoon ravaged islands.

“In order to make the necessary post Super-typhoon repairs and because Imperial Pacific did not want to continue to keep casino open by attracting only residents to patronize the casino, Imperial Pacific has made the difficult decision to temporarily shut down casino operations effective Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 until further notice.”